It’s not how you win. It’s not how you play the game. It’s how you lose.

Ok, I watched Super Bowl 50. Just to be clear—I watched some of the football and a lot of the ads (while prepping food, doing work, and performing other Sunday house tasks). But because we have Denver family who are crazy about their Broncos, and because we love/like the game of football, we watched.

First the game, then some of the postgame coverage. For me, it was in that postgame coverage—one particular interview, in fact—where the most incredible, most unbelievable play of the game occurred.

The Broncos came up with the win, making Cam Newton and his Carolina Panthers the losers of this matchup. Not surprisingly, Mr. Newton was one of the first interviews.

Huh? There was the visual: the hood, the defeated slouch, the grimace, the pout. Then the audio: “We lost,” “I don’t know what you want me to say,” “Nothing special that they did,” "No." 

And when handed a line from a reporter offering an opportunity to laud his teammates, instead of taking it, Mr. Newton just shrugged and left the stage.

Contrast that postgame performance with this Russell Wilson postgame interview after the most improbable, and certainly most heartbreaking loss the Seahawks suffered in Super Bowl 49. 

Wow. Even in the midst of what had to be crushing disappointment and huge shock, Mr. Wilson—with head high and glance steady—managed to:

  1. Support his offensive coordinator’s last (deadly) play call (which turned a sure fire win into a loss)
  2. Give credit and pay respect to his opposing quarterback
  3. Express gratefulness for the game, his ability to play and the sport in general
  4. Focus on a positive future (“I expect us to win, we’ll be back”)
  5. Give love to his teammates.

Now you and I aren’t Super Bowl athletes, and we don’t (often or ever) have to sit under the spotlight of an international press room. What we do have in common with these NFL quarterbacks is the fact that we have a competitive field in which we play, teams we play with and against, and outcomes that we control—and that matter—on a daily basis.

And when things don’t end up going our way—which is inevitable—here's hoping we all look, act and sound like winners.

Go Hawks!